As you consider graduate school, you will need to consider how you will cover the cost of attendance.  Costs vary depending on several factors and there are many ways to cover these expenses.  Let’s consider the cost and the options available to cover those expenses.

How Much Will Graduate School Cost?

The cost of attending graduate school will primarily depend on the cost of tuition and costs associated with living expenses.

James Madison University is a state university, and so the cost of tuition depends on whether you qualify as a Virginia resident or if you are a non-Virginian and the number of credit hours required for your program. Determine the number of credits required by reviewing the course requirement list for your program in the Graduate Catalog. The current cost per-credit hour is available on the University Business Office website.

There are no general student fees added to every student’s tuition bill for graduate students at JMU, however, some programs have additional fees for laboratory expenses, study abroad, etc.  Consult your program website or ask your Program Director for information about program-specific fees.

Of course, graduate students incur living expenses during graduate school, and the cost of living expenses will vary depending on the number of semesters required to complete your program of study (full- or part-time) and whether you live individually, share housing with others, or live with family.  JMU does not have an on-campus housing option for graduate students, so all students live off-campus.

Please go to the Cost of Attendance Calculator to see the estimated cost of attendance for your program of study.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships provide students with both tuition support and a stipend associated with an expectation that the student work for a university department.  The amount of tuition support varies by position, but generally covers 9 credit hours per semester of tuition, often but not always limited to the in-state level.  Stipends vary depending on the nature of the assistantship.  Teaching Assistants (TA’s) serve as instructors or assist with instruction.  Graduate Assistants (GA’s) assist with a variety of instructional, student support, or administrative tasks.  Work assignments for Doctoral Assistants vary across programs.  All of these roles have a work expectation of 20 hrs/week.  

Many graduate assistantships are assigned through academic departments that have graduate programs.  Graduate programs select their most qualified students for these positions and students should consult with their program director regarding these roles.  Many graduate assistantships are available through other offices across campus including Student Affairs, Athletics, or Grants.  Students apply for these positions as they would jobs by submitting an application, letter of interest, resume and professional references.  Many of these assistantships are listed on JMU Joblink.  

More information about graduate assistantships

Concurrent Employment

It is not unusual for students to be employed while attending graduate school, in fact, many of our programs are offered in an evening or online format to facilitate concurrent employment.  Because graduate students already have college degrees they are highly qualified to work in our community.  Many graduate students who do not have a graduate assistantship continue their prior position or work full or part-time during graduate school.  

Graduate students are eligible to apply for Student positions and Wage/Part-Time positions that are advertised on JMU Joblink.  JMU’s Office of Student Employment maintains listings of off-campus positions that may be of interest.  Of course, students may search for jobs using other databases and local publications as well.

Financial Aid and Loans

JMU’s Office of Financial Aid manages loans, scholarships and other forms of financial aid for Graduate Students.  The Financial Aid office recommends that all qualified students submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); this application is essential to determine your qualification for many forms of financial support.  

Graduate students may be eligible for Unsubsidized Federal Direct loans and Grad PLUS Direct loans. To qualify for these loan programs graduate students must complete a FAFSA application.


Students are encourage to apply for national, regional, foundation and organization and scholarship programs.  These programs can substantially reduce or cover the cost of graduate experiences.  Some indexes of scholarships available to graduate students include:

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